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Session Overview
203RA: Land use change processes and interactions along the urban-rural gradient - Part A
Wednesday, 24/Apr/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Jasper van Vliet
Session Chair: Torben Birch-Thomsen
Session Chair: Anton Van Rompaey
Location: MB-201
Main Building, room 201, second floor, east wing, 154 (+22) seats
Session Topics:
What do people want from land?

Session Abstract

Rural land systems and urban land systems have often been studied in isolation as if both systems exist independently. Yet, these systems are related in many different ways, either because they’re mixed in space, or because they depend on each other for services. At the same time, these interactions might yield new challenges related to the competing and /or increased claims for land, and thus to sustainable land use systems. In this session we will discuss studies that have this relation between rural and urban land, local or over distance) as a focal point. Specific topics include, but are not restricted to, analyses of the rural-urban continuum and related land use processes (such as including peri-urbanization, rural infill, sprawl, counter-urbanization), analyses of flows between rural and urban areas (including people, food, people, other material, but also services, such as recreation, aesthetics, flood protection,), changing rural land-use activities related to urban markets (including diversification of rural economies, functioning of small urban centres as markets, migration flows related to labor opportunities, and smallholder changes towards market production and agrifood systems), and studies on planning and management of these relations and interactions. Session Organizers: Jasper van Vliet, Anton Van Rompaey, and Torben Birch-Thomsen

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Full talk
ID: 295 / 203RA: 1
203R Land use change processes and interactions along the urban-rural gradient
Keywords: Urbanization in rural regions, Settlement growth, Agricultural value chain dynamics, Migration, Rural-urban transitions

Urbanization in rural regions: the emergence of urban centres in Tanzania

Torben Birch-Thomsen, Jytte Agergaard, Marianne Nylandsted Larsen

Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

The paper focuses on urbanization in rural regions in Africa. Emphasis is on the processes of spatial change, articulated as rural-urban transformation, in which small urban centres are emerging in rural areas - a type of settlement growth that occurs disassociated from larger existing urban centres. These settlements are generally not acknowledged as urban entities, but are involved in an administrative process in which they form part of a larger entity that is about to be given urban administrative status. To capture this process the concept of emerging urban centres (EUCs) is suggested. The empirical analysis focuses on how rural Tanzania is urbanizing. By comparing four different trajectories of growth, it is illustrated how settlement growth vary due to different pre-conditions and due to specific dynamics of crop value chains. It is also illustrated how migration to the settlements and the establishment of businesses are part of this growth and gradually occurs detached from the crop value chain dynamics.

As the settlements are composed in the ‘rural-urban continuum’, the transition has led to a process of (re-)classification of land and land use, which include interactions of regulatory systems and governance practices from national to local scale. As this process involves different stakeholders, it often leads to conflicting perceptions on land as a resource – this may influence aspects of tenure leading to conflicts and new power relations. It is discussed how these developments produces challenges to the exiting governance systems, and finally how the findings provide new insights to debates on rural transformation and the fuzzy distinction between rurality and urbanity.

Full talk
ID: 663 / 203RA: 2
203R Land use change processes and interactions along the urban-rural gradient
Keywords: urban-rural interactions, land use modelling, urban intensity, mosaic landscapes

Different shades of grey: variation along the rural-urban gradient and their implications for land use modelling

Jasper van Vliet1, Anna Hersperger2

1VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands; 2WSL Swiss federal research institute for forest, snow and landscape

The representation of urban areas in land use studies, especially those that rely on spatial analysis and spatial modelling, is often rather simplistic. Typically there is one homogenous class of urban land, as opposed to several classes of non-urban land. However, such characterization ignores mosaic landscapes such as village landscapes and peri-urban areas. In addition, the urban land in these mosaics differs in its land use intensity, ranging from extensive suburbs to intensive urban centers. In this study we analyze the distribution of built-up areas in different countries in Europe, as well as the variations in urban land-use intensity within these urban areas (expressed as population density in built-up areas). We find that most built-up land is exists as small fractions of otherwise rural areas, and that there is a large variation in urban land-use intensity within these areas. This suggests that our conventional approach of representing and interpreting areas as either rural or urban introduces a false dichotomy which hampers our understanding of urban land use change processes. In order to move forward we present a land-use model that includes various land use mosaics along the rural-urban gradient, and which can simulate different urbanization trajectories, representing expansion and intensification pathways of urban land. We demonstrate the advantage of such approach by assessing the impact of different urbanization trajectories in terms of impervious surface, as well as changes in agricultural land and natural areas in selected countries in Europe.

Full talk
ID: 889 / 203RA: 3
203R Land use change processes and interactions along the urban-rural gradient
Keywords: rural-urban interactions, climate change, migration, adaptation

Rural-urban transformations, small towns and climate change induced migration

Jytte Agergaard1, Cecilia Tacoli2

1University of Copenhagen, Denmark; 2International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), London, UK

Climate changed induced migration is potentially a strong driver of land use changes, not least in resource poor regions. Despite alarmist predictions of ever-increasing numbers of environmental refugees, empirical research concerned with the environmental-migration nexus, have found little evidence for these prophecies. Instead, the fast-growing numbers of case studies and meta studies have emphasized that environmental changes interact with migration and mobility in more complex ways. In this paper we will explore how environmental change intersects with rural-urban transformations and the role of small towns in climate change adaptation. Based on a critical reading of empirically based case studies, the paper explores how climate-induced migration directly and indirectly has an impact on rural-urban transformations and land use changes. In doing so, the paper examines if small towns can support both adaptation and mitigation. For this, we will question: 1) how small towns are growing or not in regions vulnerable to climate change impacts; 2) what are the factors of demographic and economic growth leading to rural-urban transformations? 3) if we can describe this as adaptation to climate change, how can this be measured and lead to sustainable land use changes? and 4) how does governance of small towns for climate change adaptation also include mitigation, and how this is supported by global and national politics for sustainable development?

Full talk
ID: 285 / 203RA: 4
203R Land use change processes and interactions along the urban-rural gradient
Keywords: Strategic spatial planning, urban-rural nexus, urban regions, land use, land management

The role of strategic spatial plans in managing urban-rural relationships in European and North American urban regions

Eduardo Henrique da Silva Oliveira1,2, Anna M. Hersperger2

1Université catholique de Louvain Belgium; 2Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL Switzerland

Recent decades have witnessed a huge change in the global structure of the human population, with the majority of people now living in urban environments. Rural-to-urban migration flows, mainly due to labour opportunities in urban areas, are responsible for the majority of this growth. Such events aggravate the urban-rural divide and compromise sustainable land-use systems. Hence, planning and managing urban areas and rural hinterlands require integrative spatial planning strategies, as well as strong land use management policies. In this regard, strategic spatial plans have been increasingly developed in many urban regions worldwide, as a means to achieve sustainable land use patterns, guide the location of physical infrastructures and shape urban-rural dynamics. It is realistic, therefore, to expect that strategic spatial plans may contribute to fostering the linkage between urban centres and rural hinterlands. This study reviews the content of strategic plans and other spatial policy documents currently in force in European and North American urban regions. The central goal of this study is to analyse the policies and measures in the plans to understand the role strategic spatial plans play in balancing the urban-rural nexus. The findings allow us to distinguish three dominant approaches, which reflect spatial patterns: i) strategic plans in European cases are focused on promoting brownfield redevelopment and stimulating polycentricity as a counter-urbanization measure; ii) strategic plans in Canadian cases demonstrate strong preoccupations with farmland protection for food security in striving for a more equal development of urban and rural areas; iii) strategic plans in assessed US cases are mainly focused on curbing urban sprawl and avoiding further land take for urban and infrastructure development, while rural hinterlands are largely neglected. The study concludes by outlining recommendations intended to support strategic planning processes and sustainable land management.

Full talk
ID: 450 / 203RA: 5
203R Land use change processes and interactions along the urban-rural gradient
Keywords: peri-urban, GIS-based, land use change, mixed-method, Tanzania

Analyzing peri-urban land use change using a mixed-methods approach in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Saskia Wolff, Tobia Lakes

Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Germany

Dar es Salaam is one of the fastest growing cities in Africa facing many challenges due to highly dynamic and rapid changes. Particularly the peri-urban areas are regions of interest but are, however, still lacking a consistent definition, especially in the Global South. The study aims to define characteristics and processes for the peri-urban areas for the case of Dar es Salaam. We use a mixed-method approach including expert interviews and analyzing spatial data on a local scale for a gradient from the city to the rural. Using an urban-rural gradient includes the former peri-urban and already more urbanized areas as well as sparsely populated areas within the Dar es Salaam region representing different states of peri-urbanization and its heterogeneous dynamics. Interviews were conducted during a field study in 2017 and were analyzed regarding characteristics, processes and actors of peri-urban land development. In addition, a GIS-based analysis combining remote-sensing derived land use information with OSM data was applied. It was complemented by knowledge obtained by literature review and with local knowledge from expert interviews. Therefore, spatial characteristics such as building density and proximity factors (e.g. distance to road, distance to village center, distance to river valley) have been investigated. Using data derived from satellite images enables descriptive analysis of structures and processes on a very small scale. Results show specific patterns of indicators within a peri-urban area. Moreover, the study finds that population pressure and growth is one of the main reasons for the development of peri-urban areas. However, the peri-urban faces many challenges particularly because of lack of planning structures in the Dar es Salaam administrative region leading to urban sprawl. Finally, the combination of expert knowledge and GIS-based spatial data analysis helps to better understand the processes along the dynamic urban-rural gradient.

Flash talk
ID: 856 / 203RA: 6
203R Land use change processes and interactions along the urban-rural gradient
Keywords: agricultural transformation, rural-urban relations, translocality, network thinking

Sumatra’s landscape mosaic: investigating spatio-temporal heterogeneity of rural transformations

Fenna Otten

Georg-August Universität Göttingen

Sumatra is well known for an unprecedented oil palm expansion, which has taken place for the last decades and is related to a globally increasing demand for palm oils. This development mirrors a broader “engagement of rural regions in the global economy” (Woods 2013, 11).

However, initial investigations within our research region Jambi province revealed that both the agricultural and the concurrent societal transformation have been differentiated so that a landscape mosaic has evolved. In some places, oil palm monocultures became dominant, while others are characterised by vast rubber forests. In between, remnants of paddy farming, vegetable or fruit cultivation persisted. Indeed, several local farmers benefited from the oil palm expansion, whereas many smallholders struggle for a means of living, inter alia caused by financialization and privatization of lands, land scarcity and conflicts.

I hypothesized that rural transformations depend on spatial proximity to urban centres. In nine villages, lying along a conceptual rural-urban transect, I conducted qualitative interviews and participative observation. This research was complemented with interviews in urban areas.

Findings suggest that it is not spatial proximity to urban centres driving broader agricultural and societal transformations, though cities cause peri-urbanisation or food production for urban consumer markets in nearby villages. Transmigration settlement areas, however, are considered agricultural successful regions. Via local social networks information and capitals are spread between these settlements and adjacent villages.

Generally, social networks proved more important than spatial proximity. Trans-local actors often have a strong influence transformations even though relations span over great distances. Family networks spanning across Indonesia, regional elites’ networks, or transnational business networks are only some examples.

Concluding, rural and urban spaces are interrelated rather than separated, but a continuum from urban to distant rural places cannot be found in Jambi province. Landscape transformation has taken place within more complex trans-local networks.

Flash talk
ID: 837 / 203RA: 7
203R Land use change processes and interactions along the urban-rural gradient
Keywords: GHSL, settlement model, taxonomy of change, urban-rural dynamics

Data compendium for land change analysis along the urban-rural gradient

Aneta J. Florczyk1, Michele Melchiorri2, Marcello Schiavina1, Martino Pesaresi1, Thomas Kemper1, Daniele Ehrlich1

1European Commission DG Joint Research Centre Disaster Risk Management Unit; 2Piksel S.r.l

In the face of the global policy commitments such as the 2030 Agenda and related thematic agreements, there is still no agreement on the urban/rural definition. Without a common definition, it is difficult to provide any global and consistent analysis that requires explicit delineation of the rural and urban areas, and their intermediate categories. Currently, there is an ongoing effort of international partners (European Commission, OECD, the World Bank, FAO and UN-Habitat) to provide such a definition - within the context of supporting and monitoring SDGs, which resulted in a settlement model and global multi-temporal grids produced by the European Commission, DG Joint Research Centre. The model classifies each 1 km² of the landmass as ‘city’, ‘towns and suburbs’ or ‘rural area’ by considering two spatial attributes: built-up area and population densities. The urban-rural classification is offered together with the built-up and population density measures as a spatially and temporally consistent data package (within the framework of Global Human Settlement Layer), resulting in a data compendium for analysis of the urban-rural dynamics between 1975 and 2015.

In this work we summarize the activities conducted so far, introduce the refinement of the settlement model (towns, villages, fringes, etc.), and the taxonomy of change – a powerful tool for multi-temporal exploration of the global urban/rural dynamics in search of their drivers.

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